Manx Independent letters, June 9, 2016

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Mananging our MHKs’ morality

A modest proposal for dealing with moral delinquency in Manx politicians.

For too long we have suffered with having only one un-elected Bishop to guide our politicians through the moral maze that is the modern world.

Until now we have placed the onerous burden of guiding all our politicians on the shoulders of only one man!

He has often had to resort to presenting two, or more, contradictory positions in order to get his mixed-up messages across.

Now, when Comrade Corbyn takes over the government in the UK, I am sure that one of his first moves will be to actually reform his parliament – he will, no doubt, retire the sitting bishops at the first opportunity.

Not wanting to miss the opportunity of gaining the wisdom and insight of these parliamentarians, why not bring them to the Isle of Man? (Furthermore, because they are ‘priests with privileges’, they would not be subject to those demeaning work permits, so they could start work immediately!)

So, my modest proposal is that we increase the number of sitting members of the House of Keys by appointing 26 bishops to act as ‘personal morality managers’ (PMMs) to the 24 elected MHKs (two substitutes in case of holidays, illness or injury).

In the inimitable words of Dr Beverly Hofstetter, ‘If some is good, more must be better!’

Each new bishop would have a vote that was tied to their appointed politician, who, in turn, would have to vote in the same manner.

So, whilst the net effect would be zero, each MHK who would have strayed from the correct moral path, had they not had the benefit of ‘guidance’, will now vote in accordance with the morally acceptable, ‘General Will’ of the people.

They will have ‘been forced to be free’ as Rousseau said. Harmony restored!

I do not propose making any changes to the Upper House as it is obviously doing a grand job and, with all those PPMs managing their politicians in the Lower House, there will only be a rubber stamping exercise required anyway.

Why is this a good move for the island? Some of our politicians, from time time, exhibit poor judgment; sometimes they get a little too carried away, or get muddled with mundane financial matters; other times they forget that they are answerable to ‘We, the People’, who live in a liberal democracy in the 21st century, and not some Victorian pantomime.

Also, as pointed out by the present Bishop on Manx Radio: ‘Sometimes it is useful to have a voice that is not dependent on a vote – to say something which would offend voters if that person had to be voted in, and sometimes tell the truth that way more easily than if you had to keep an eye over your shoulder to see whether you will be voted in next time.’

Some of the ‘offensive topics’ which had proved unpopular with some of the electorate in the past have included; decriminalising homosexual behavior, equalising the age of consent or granting equal marriage rights to all consenting adult couples.

Each time these ‘sexual topics’ have arisen our un-elected bishops has done their best to add clarity of thinking to the debate, and, each time, Tynwald proceeded to modernise our laws for the benefit of a ‘special interest group’.

In the future our politicians will be called upon to make decisions that impact the lives of other ‘special interest groups’; sexually active, heterosexual, women of childbearing age, for instance.

Now, modernising abortion law is such an emotive topic that I am certain there will be some MHKs who would have wanted to declare their views but were too afraid of losing a vote or two, so here is where my proposal really takes centre stage – an MHK’s personal morality manager would agree to represent the views of another MHK thereby anonymising the original poster’s comments!

So, my solution gives meaningful employment to experienced political priests made jobless by that politician of the people, Mr Corbyn. It would mean that each elected politician would have their own PMM and that any tricky topics could be handled in a sensitive, and importantly, in an anonymous manner, by the pool of personal morality managers!

And, with the only other country who appoint un-elected clerics to their Parliament out of the picture, the Island will be able to proudly claim to be the “oldest parliamentary theocracy outside of Iran!”

All credit to Jonathan Swift for his original idea.

Andrew Dixon, Rushen


Bus mustn’t move till all are seated

Reading the article regarding school children standing on the bus (Isle of Man Examiner, May 31), I question the competence of anyone who would have anyone standing on a moving vehicle – old people, pregnant women, children.

Ian Longworth said: ‘Small children standing on a bus is not a safety issue, while going upstairs on a moving double decker is’.

My understanding of the safety rules for bus drivers is the driver must ‘not’ start the vehicle moving until everyone is seated.

Mr Longworth is pushing an agenda where he gets rid of as many expensive double deckers as possible, replacing them with cheaper single deckers even if ‘people’ are herded into single deckers like ‘cattle’ and packed in like ‘sardines’.

Ian Longworth stated how going up stairs on a moving double decker is dangerous.

A bus shouldn’t be moving until everyone is ‘safely’ seated.

Paul Sullivan, Braddan.


An ode to Castletown

Come to the Isle of Man,

to watch the old TT,

wandered around this pretty place,

to see what I could see.

My feet they did take me,

to a place called Castletown,

and I sat upon a hard grey seat,

and took a look around.

The flowers, oh so pretty,

they did cheer up the square,

but oh, what a pity,

there was little else there.

Of course there was the Castle,

and three public houses I did spy,

a few little shops,

but not a great deal to buy.

A pretty little card shop,

a gem within the town,

others though were papered up,

and shut up shops all around.

I did buy myself some sweets,

as all the cafes were shut,

and as I sat upon that metal seat,

I had a feeling in my gut.

What a shame when it should be more,

a place o’ history and pride,

but woe this Ancient Capital of Mann,

is a town that has sadly died.

Name and address supplied.


Politicians must set good example

I thought the MHKs were to serve the people, not for the people o serve them.

There were no headlines from them when pensioners lost a £1,000 personal allowance or when they cut the Christmas bonus from £80 to £40.

Not only pensioners but other workers have had cuts made.

The MHKs are not setting an example.

If they are not happy with their money, let them resign and others take their places.

Henry de Silva, Andreas.

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